Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rock the Fro

Bizarro is brought to you today by Rapunzel's Grandson.
I miss the afro. In 1975, when I was up to my eyeballs in high school, afros were the rage for all blacks and the small handful of whites who could pull it off. Having naturally very curly hair, I was one of those lucky crackers who could rock the 'fro.

I remember having a crush on a black girl at school who was a year older (so I had no chance with her) and had a giant afro. She was beautiful and probably had the personality of an angel. I don't know for sure, because the only time I ever spoke to her was when she asked to touch my 'fro, and not much was said.

"Can I touch yo' 'fro?"
(Gulp) "Sure."
"Ooh, it so sof'."

This was a common request for black girls at my school and I was always more than happy to comply. As a kid who was too shy to talk to girls he was attracted to, my hair was like carrying a puppy around and waiting for women to go nuts over it.

Oddly enough, I owed their compulsion to touch my hair on the very thing our school was sworn to combat – racism. At that time, the early seventies, Tulsa was still a very segregated community, with the blacks all living and shopping on the north side of town, and the whites on the south. It was the era of court-ordered busing, and in order to fend off the courts, Tulsa opted for a voluntarily integrated magnet school program. My alma mater, Booker T. Washington High School (GO HORNETS!) was among the first such schools in the country and I was among the first class of whites to attend there when it opened.

I say that I owed my luck with black chicks to racism because the reason they were compelled to touch my hair was because most had never seen a white person with an afro and none had ever touched one. They were amazed at how soft my hair was, African-American hair is typically much drier and more bristly. The term "afro" is short for African, of course, so it was a misnomer to call mine that. I should have called it an "italo," since my Italian heritage gives me the curls, or at the very least a "euro," which was still more than a decade away from being a monetary unit.

My hairline is too compromised to raise a good "italo" now, the most I would get is one of those bushy-on-the-sides, fuzzy on top things like Art Garfunkel used to wear. A "garfo."

So here's to the afro. I'd love it if Obama brought one back to the first head and wore this T-shirt to press conferences.


Jill D. said...

Ok, it seems as if these 1970's yearbooks are now very much hidden ! Why, I ask. It' just WAY too much fun laughing out loud, for sustained periods. Just ask Budin.

sheer.nothingness said...

I'm assuming that by saying they wanted to touch your hair because of racism, you mean that they didn't know what white hair felt like, because of racism, not that it was racist of them to be curious.

I added 1 more vote for bizarro to not go- don't disappoint me!

Holmes said...

The fro will never die, my man. Will never die.

Unknown said...

Afros have an interesting appeal. Personally, though, I was always partial to the shaved look. I think that on any good-looking man or woman, a bald head is stylish.

Beth said...

I miss the fro too! There are a couple of very brave kids in my high school who "keep it real" and I think it looks so great (and certainly lower maintenance for the girls)

So glad I found your blog, Dan! I just read your interview in VegTimes. Love your cartoons and wit!

And good gawd, but your wife is gorgeous! Thank you for all you both do for the animals :)

Waldo said...

No worries... Check out Marouane Fellaini who plays for Everton Football Club (err... soccer).

FunkyPunkyG said...

How cool. I love the blog, the comic and white boy 'fros. :D

Ray Avito said...

The 'fro is MAJOR, Dan! Love it! Personally, I would kill for a high school shot that looked 1/10th that good.

枯淡 said...

HAHA my mom was in highschool too during the afro craze, and she ended up having a 'fro too, though by accident XD she'd just wanted a little curl to her hair, but somehow it had the opposite effect and made her hair turn into a big afro, she said she cried for days but people seemed to like it, she even had to use a pick and people would always ask if she was black (she's white) hahahaha